Cineworld Issues Statement on Reports of Regal Cinemas Closing in US, UK Closures

Cineworld Cinemas has released a statement regarding reports that the company will close its Regal Cinemas theaters in the United States and its theaters in the United Kingdom until 2021. Cineworld's official Twitter account shared the comment. It confirms the company hasn't made a final decision yet but is considering the closure. It reads, "We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and US cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached. Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can."

Cineworld's decision to close comes after MGM and Universal's decision to delay the next James Bond movie, No Time to Die, into 2021. That delay follows a similar move from Marvel Studios, which pushed back Black Widow's debut. Tenet's flimsy domestic box office performance helped inspire those decisions. That makes Warner Bros.'s Dune and Wonder Woman 1984, which has already seen a series of delays, the only tentpole blockbusters left on the 2020 calendar. Many consider delays for those films to be inevitable, especially as experts warn that winter weather will only intensify the spread of COVID-19. With few to no upcoming big audience draws, there's little reason for indoor theaters to remain open.

If Cineworld goes through with this decision, it would mean shutting down more than 500 Regal Cinemas theaters in the United States. Regal is the second-largest theater chain in the United States. Cineworld is the United Kingdom's biggest theater company. Cineworld hopes to reopen theaters sometime in 2021.

On Friday, some analysts seemed to prophesize these closures in predicting that the No Time to Die delay would be disastrous for theater chains. "The theatrical landscape is a vortex, and it's clear that no big blockbuster can survive right now," Exhibitor Relations head Jeff Bock said. "That's why everything is going to be pushed back to 2021."

"I don't see any big-budget film opening until New York and Los Angeles have reopened," an MKM Partners analyst said. "The economics just don't work."

A group of filmmakers sent forth a Congressional lobbying effort earlier this week. It's an attempt to get Congress to consider offering exhibitors aid in an upcoming stimulus package.

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"If we don't have any movies until we're fully vaccinated as a world, a lot of the theater companies are going to be gone and the theaters themselves won't be there," National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) head John Fithian said. "So your infrastructure to play your movies and get grosses will not be the same. This idea of waiting out the pandemic to make your movies more profitable doesn't make sense to me. There won't be as much of an industry left to play your movies in if you do that."

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